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09:00 am: Have you Vetted your favorite politician? How are his legs? What about his Colic?

The word "vetted" is everywhere, and everyone uses it as if they know what they are talking about...even though I'd never heard it until recently. But when I asked friends, even the kind who usually know their stufft, none of them knew where the word came from or what it really meant (other than the obvious.) So, I decided to look it up.

This is what I found:

        To vet was originally a horse-racing term, referring to the requirement that a horse be
checked for health and soundness by a veterinarian before being allowed to race.
                                                                                   (Wikipedia, but I confirmed it elsewhere, too)

Horse-racing term...says a lot about our current politicians (on both sides) doesn't it?


[User Picture]
Date:March 1st, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
The etymology of words is one of my minor interests. There is a gentleman whose name escapes me who occasionally comes onto our MPR station to take listener questions about words and their origins. The way that words and phrases get retasked, as you illustrate above, is endlessly fascinating.
[User Picture]
Date:March 2nd, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)

Now I have to go pull up the OED

It seems there was an interim time when it slang-ily refered to people getting medical care, that is, being "vetted" by their doctors.

Also the root - veterinarian - is from the latin word for cattle.

You're right! So much makes sense now :-)
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